Mikhal Niks

Mikhail Niks

Mikhail Niks was a native of St. Petersburg, Russia. He immigrated with his family (wife, Inessa; son, Dimitri; daughter, Marina) to the US in 1979, finally settling in Redlands, California in 1982. Mikhail was an electronic engineer and for several years had studied voice in the vocal studio of Elizabeth Ginsburg in St. Petersburg, who herself was taught by a student of Umberto Masetti (teacher of legendary Russian singer Antonina Nezhdanova). Mikhail studied piano and musicology with Inessa Niks. His research centered on piano technique without tension and led to the development of the principle of the forward force of the shoulder to reduce the exertion of the wrist. In 1989, he invented and patented his first piano device, the “Hand and Wrist Exercising Means,” that demonstrated this principle. In the same year a medical experiment conducted by the Pathokinesiology Department at the Los Amigos Medical Center, Downey, CA tested and approved this principle. Further research focused on the usage of effective finger muscles in piano playing and led to the invention of the second piano device, the “Hand Guide,” in 1991. The “Hand Guide” became an efficient teaching aid for the accomplished tension-free piano technique. For this achievement Mr. Niks was included in the 1992-1993 edition of Who’s Who of American inventors (Hooper Group Publishing) and in 2011 a copy of the “Hand Guide” was acquired by the Robert Schumann Museum in Zwickau, Germany. In 1991, together with Inessa Niks, Mr. Niks founded the Niks Hand Retraining Center in Redlands, CA helping musicians with hand complications to get rid of tension. The same basic principles were subsequently applied to the process of typing, resulting in the book, “Type Without Tension,” published by Northwest Publishing, Inc. in 1992. Enriched by the discovery of the essential principles in piano research, Mr. Niks conducted his vocal research in the last three years of his life. During this period he developed the concept of muscle work in the process of voice purification and breath control specific for singers, thus laying the foundation for continuing research by his son, Dimitri Niks and his wife, Inessa Niks.

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